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FAQs

Does CEFC provide counseling directly to borrowers?

CEFC is not able to provide direct service to borrowers. Our mission is to improve the counseling services that are available to borrowers by bringing academic research and evidence-based practices to the front lines of financial counseling.  We accomplish this by developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating high quality, effective financial counseling programs in partnership with first-rate financial counseling providers nationwide.

Does every borrower need repayment counseling?

Many borrowers are able to explore their available repayment options on their own. However, for others, doing the research may seem too complex, time-consuming or overwhelming, especially if the borrowers have delinquent and/or defaulted loans. Borrowers may also have other financial issues and need help with developing a monthly budget and managing their finances in addition to their student loan repayment.

Where can borrowers schedule a CEFC Student Loan Debt Repayment Counseling session?

Currently, only two financial counseling organizations are providing CEFC’s Student Loan Debt Repayment Counseling. One is located in the Midwest and the other in the Northeast. Through a third-party evaluation, CEFC has determined proof-of-concept and is anxious to take the program to scale nationally.

What are borrowers charged for CEFC’s counseling?

The financial counseling organizations that work with CEFC to deliver its Student Loan Debt Repayment Counseling must provide the service to borrowers for free.

How do borrowers prepare for an initial CEFC counseling session?

It is extremely important for the borrower to access the National Student Loan Data System to print out his or her federal loan summary to have accurate information regarding his or her loan(s) status. For private loans, borrowers are encouraged to access their three annual free credit reports. Borrowers are also encouraged to bring in all important student loan paperwork.

What can a borrower expect from CEFC counseling?

Depending on an individual’s loan status, the counselor will help him or her explore available repayment options using a “checklist” starting with the most complete remedy that might be available to the borrower. Each borrower receives a detailed action plan, including a monthly budget, and access to limited legal consultation, if needed. A follow-up session is scheduled for each borrower to monitor action plan progress in addressing student loan repayment.

What are the intended borrower outcomes of a CEFC counseling session?

 As a result of the counseling session, a borrower will know what his or her available federal repayment options are, if any, as well as his or her eligibility to participate in the various options. The CEFC counseling model focuses on motivating borrowers to change their financial behavior as necessary and to address their student loan debt repayment successfully by following through on an action plan developed and monitored by the counselor. 

How do community stakeholders know CEFC’s Student Loan Debt Repayment Counseling programming provides a quality service?

CEFC’s program design trademark is to step beyond providing only training to counselors but also support and monitor the implementation of the program objectives. In addition, CEFC engages third-party evaluation to determine how well the program protocol was followed by counselors as well as the impact of the program on borrower outcomes.

Is CEFC’s Student Loan Debt Repayment Counseling replicable?

CEFC’s Student Loan Debt Repayment Counseling program is replicable. A partnered financial counseling organization along with a legal services organization are required to participate in various training programs, follow and fully implement CEFC’s program protocol, including filing scheduled reports for monitoring. Borrowers’ files are monitored to determine counselors’ adherence to administering the program protocol. Counselors’ performance gaps are addressed through additional coaching and training. CEFC is committed to each borrower receiving a complete and consistent review of his or her individual student loan repayment situation.

How does providing CEFC’s Student Loan Debt Repayment Counseling benefit the community?

Many borrowers are simply unaware of the available federal student loan debt repayment options and eligibility requirements. Exploring these options can be confusing and difficult to sort out. Applying for the options may seem overwhelming, as well. To add to the frustration, the loan servicer(s) may be unaware of the borrower’s overall financial situation and the repayment options for which the borrower would qualify. Plus, there are very few places for borrowers to obtain unbiased assistance with student loan repayment.

When borrowers have access to student loan debt repayment counseling, they are more likely to explore, identify and participate in a repayment option beneficial to the their financial circumstances and ultimately improve their credit histories and credit scores. Consumers with positive credit scores have an easier time qualifying for a mortgage and applying for credit, thus enabling them to actively participate in the nation’s economy.

How can local stakeholders begin the process of establishing a student loan borrower debt repayment counseling service to our community?

The first step is to contact CEFC and schedule a time to discuss the details for establishing a Student Loan Debt Repayment Counseling program in your community.